Certified translation of vital records

Certified translation of vital records

Birth certificate, marriage and wedding certificates, death certificates and more - everyone is familiar with them and has already had to submit at least one of these documents to an office or authority. However, if you have to submit German documents abroad or want to have foreign documents recognized in Germany or need them for authorities, there are a few things to bear in mind.

When do I need a certified translation and what should I bear in mind?

If you want to have foreign-language documents of any kind recognized by a German authority or a German office or have to present them or if you need German documents abroad, these documents must be translated with certification. This applies in particular to vital records.

In Germany, there are strict rules and regulations for the preparation of certified translations of vital records and official documents, which must be strictly adhered to. For example, the translation must be done by a translator who is publicly appointed and sworn or authorized in Germany. The translator must not only ensure the completeness and accuracy of the translation, but also pay attention to the formatting. The translation must correspond to the original in the best possible way in terms of content and form. Stamps, signatures, seals and other additions to the original document must not be omitted and must be rendered accordingly in the certified translation. In particular handwritten notes often pose a challenge here since they are usually barely legible. Translators of public documents therefore have a number of things to bear in mind before they certify the translation. The certification itself consists of a corresponding authentication remark, the translator's stamp and signature.

By the way, we have also put together a short informative video on the preparation of certified translations, in which we illustrate the features for you.

Certified translation of birth certificates

Birth certificates, certificates of descent and extracts from birth registers as well as baptismal certificates and other certificates of this kind are often required for presentation at authorities and other public institutions. The certified translation of a foreign birth certificate is indispensable for applying for a residence permit, naturalization, a visa, marriage, parental allowance, a change of name or as proof of citizenship.

Particular care must be taken with certified translations of foreign-language documents that do not use the Latin alphabet. This is the case, for example, with Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Iranian, Greek or Hebrew documents. For such languages, a special ISO standard must be observed for the correct rendering of first and last names. This standard regulates the correct transcription of foreign-language letters into “equivalent” Latin characters. This is the only way to ensure that there are no discrepancies or misunderstandings regarding the correct identity. In the transcription of first names and last names, a foreign letter corresponds exactly to a German letter; and in some cases diacritics have to be used to render the respective letter accurately.

Since birth certificates are among the most important vital records, you should be particularly attentive and careful when choosing a translator. It is advisable to hire a translation agency known for thoroughness and accuracy or an experienced translator.

What do I need to consider when getting a certified translation of my marriage certificate?

Marriage certificates or wedding certificates or certified extracts from the marriage register are usually required for applying for a foreign citizenship, a visa, naturalization, adoption or also for a divorce. Depending on the case, either the German document must be translated into the respective foreign language (e.g. English, Romanian, Spanish, French, Italian) or the foreign-language document must be translated into German with certification.

If you want to have a marriage that was concluded in Germany recognized abroad, you need a certified translation of the marriage certificate. The certification makes the translation a public document. Depending on the country, this translation may then require legalization or an apostille.

Legalization and apostille are a type of certification and confirm the authenticity of a document, in this case of the certified translation. The type of certification required depends on the country. For example, if you want to have a German marriage certificate recognized in the USA or vice versa, you will need an apostille. However, for Morocco or India, for example, legalization is required. The legalization or apostille of a certified translation can be requested at the regional or higher regional court where the translator was sworn in. Most of the translators at our translation agency have been sworn in at the Nuremberg-Fürth Regional Court.

As with the translation of birth certificates, special attention must be paid to the spelling of names in foreign-language marriage certificates that do not use the Latin alphabet. Of course, the ISO standards also apply for the correct transcription of the letters in this case.

Translation of death certificates and wills with certification

Death certificates are mainly required for organizing the funeral, settling the estate and terminating any existing contracts and bank accounts. A certified translation of the death certificate is needed if a relative dies abroad and is to be buried in Germany or vice versa. If one of the spouses has a foreign background and was not born in Germany, German law requires a certified translation of the respective birth certificate for the issuance of the death certificate.

The translation of a death certificate often goes hand in hand with the certified translation of a will. Since these are extremely important legal documents with great implications, it is essential to hire an experienced specialist translator or a translation agency with the appropriate focus. Wills and testamentary dispositions usually contain very specialized and technical terminology and phrases that must not be translated verbatim and require background knowledge and expertise. Using a qualified language service provider for certified translation right away simplifies everything and saves not only aggravation but time and money as well.

Of course, when translating foreign-language death certificates, the correct transcription of the name spelling must be ensured, just as with birth and marriage certificates.

Hiring the right translator

In summary, the focus and areas of expertise as well as the experience of the translation agency or translator to be hired are essential. We at AP Fachübersetzungen have been well established in the translation market for over 10 years now and have been able to competently support and convince numerous large companies, law firms, courts, clinics as well as private individuals with our expertise in the fields of medicine, pharmacy, law and technology and our strict quality management. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for the outstanding ratings on numerous evaluation portals.

The Nuremberg translation agency AP Fachübersetzungen definitely has the right translator for your request. Contact us – we will be happy to help you!